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February 17 2014

‘New’ Luxor mummy is 3,600 years old


Spanish archeologists have unearthed a 3,600-year-old mummy in the ancient city of Luxor, Egypt’s Antiquities Minister has said.

Mohammed Ibrahim said the rare find in a preserved wooden sarcophagus dates back to 1600 BC, when the Pharaonic 17th Dynasty reigned. He said the mummy appears to belong to a high official. The sarcophagus is engraved with hieroglyphs and decorated with inscriptions of bird feathers.

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February 17 2014

Aztec dog burials puzzle archaeologists


During salvage excavations in Azcapotzalco (Northwest Mexico City), archaeologists from the National Institute of anthropology and history (INAH) discovered the remains of 12 dogs.

The dogs were placed there around 500 years ago, but unusually, without any apparent association to human burial – acting as a guide for the soul to the underworld, or as an offering dedicated to a temple or building.

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February 17 2014

Did the ancient Celts practice human sacrifice?


Very little is truly known of the ancient Celts who left no written records. The names of many of the gods worshipped by them are known through Latin or Gallo-Latin inscriptions made in late pre-Roman and Roman times.

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February 17 2014

Ancient DNA from Montana Skeleton Holds Clues to Native American Ancestry


DNA from the skeleton of an ancient boy from Montana may just hold clues revealing who the first Native Americans were and where they came from.

A recent paper in the journal Nature details the results from the 12,500-year-old infant boy’s genome. The boy, nicknamed Anzick-1 in reference to the owner of the land where he was found, was buried with items associated with the well-known Clovis culture of North America.

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February 17 2014

Ardipithecus ramidus: Study Links Ancient Hominid to Human Lineage


A new study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, confirms close relationship of Ardipithecus ramidus – a species of hominid that lived in the east of the African continent around 4.4 million years ago – to the subsequent Australopithecus and humans.

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February 17 2014

Ancient graves hint at cultural shift to Anglo-Saxon Britain


Human remains dug up from an ancient grave in Oxfordshire add to a growing body of evidence that Britain's fifth-century transition from Roman to Anglo-Saxon was cultural rather than bloody.

The traditional historical narrative is one of brutal conquest, with invaders from the North wiping out and replacing the pre-existing population.

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February 17 2014

Prehistoric Paint to Shield European Sun Probe from Solar Inferno


A European spacecraft set to launch toward the sun in 2017 will be protected by a paint once used in prehistoric cave art.

The European Space Agency's Solar Orbiter probe will be coated in a substance derived from burnt bone charcoal — a type of pigment once used by early humans to create art on the insides of caves in France.

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February 17 2014

Mystery of the Martian ‘Jelly Doughnut’ Rock – Solved


The mystery of the world famous “Jelly Doughnut” rock on Mars has at last been solved by diligent mission scientists toiling away in dank research labs on Earth.

The “Jelly Doughnut” rock achieved worldwide fame, or better yet infamy, when it suddenly appeared out of nowhere in pictures taken by NASA’s renowned Red Planet rover Opportunity in January.

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February 17 2014

How Nuclear Bombs Could Save Earth from Killer Asteroids


The most destructive weapon humanity has ever developed could help our species avoid going the way of the dinosaurs.

Pretty much any asteroid that poses a threat to Earth can be blasted out of the heavens using a nuclear bomb, even with warning times of a week or less, say a team of scientists who have been developing the idea.

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February 17 2014

A 270m asteroid is to swing past Earth almost exactly a year after a meteor burst over Russia


JUST days after the anniversary of the Chelyabinsk meteor that injured 1,000 when the spectacular fireball burst over Russia, a massive asteroid is set to flash past Earth.

The trajectory of the 270m diameter near-Earth asteroid, named 2000 EM26, has been analysed and it will pose no threat to our planet as it whizzes past at 12.37km per second late today.

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February 17 2014

United Nations Takes Aim at Asteroid Threat to Earth


As the anniversary of last year's surprise Russian meteor explosion nears, a United Nations action team is taking steps to thwart dangerous space rocks, including setting up a warning network and a planning advisory group that would coordinate a counterpunch to cosmic threats.

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February 17 2014

Ganymede gets its first map 400 years after Galileo discovered the largest moon in the solar system


More than 400 years after its discovery by Galileo, the largest moon in the solar system has finally been mapped.

The first geological map of an icy outer-planet moon ever created, it reveals a 'dual landscape'.

One part is made up of complex grooves and ridges, while a second area is highly cratered.

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February 17 2014

A Collision with Another Universe --Are Signs Lurking in the Big Bang Afterglow?


The cosmic microwave background (CMB) is the left-over heat from the Big Bang. This radiation provides a picture of the universe when it was only 400,000 years old. Now, 14 billion years later, it has cooled to microwave frequencies and is nearly uniform. The slight variations of 1 part in 100,000 in its temperature reflect initial inhomogeneities in the matter and radiation that later collapsed to form clusters and galaxies.

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February 17 2014

Photons' journeys across the universe help unravel cosmological mysteries


The faint background glow that exists throughout the Universe, called the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB), is made of photons that have been scattering since the universe was just 400,000 years old. Now in a new paper, physicist Liang Dai at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, has shown that the polarization of these photons is rotated as they travel by things such as gravity waves and cosmic matter flows.

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February 17 2014

Dark-Matter Detector to Begin Operations Soon in China


China is entering the race to detect mysterious dark matter in a big way, with a huge facility in Sichuan province set to begin collecting data in the coming weeks.

The $8 million PandaX (Particle and Astrophysical Xenon) experiment — which lies 7,874 feet (2,400 meters) underground, inside a mountain made of marble — will be up and running early this year, IEEE Spectrum reported recently on Discovery News.

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February 17 2014

Melted magma could warn of brewing volcanic eruptions


Before volcanoes erupt, they must "defrost". The magma beneath some of the world's most dangerous volcanoes might be relatively cool and solid for more than 99 per cent of the time. That means evidence that it has warmed up and melted could be a sign of an imminent eruption.

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February 16 2014

Tracing Ancestry, Researchers Produce a Genetic Atlas of Human Mixing Events


The rise and fall of empires, the march of armies, the flow of trade routes, the practice of slavery — all these events have led to a mixing of populations around the world. Such episodes have left a record in the human genome, but one that has so far been too complex to decipher on a global scale.

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February 16 2014

59,000 generations of bacteria, plus freezer, yield startling results


After 26 years of workdays spent watching bacteria multiply, Richard Lenski has learned a thing or two.

He's learned that naturalist Charles Darwin was wrong about some things. For one, evolution doesn't always occur in steps so slow and steady that changes can't be observed.

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